When I started out in photography, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I took an art credit as part of my degree, mostly because my siblings had taken the same class and we had a camera lying around.
But from that third class I was hooked.
(The first two classes were the history of photography and I just wasn’t into it #realtalk amiright.)
I loved taking my camera out and shooting absolutely everything around me. My backyard, my Claddagh ring, my unruly pets, my friends who indulged in my snap-happiness. My camera was another appendage for a long time; everywhere I went, it went, too. I was in love with photography and couldn’t get enough of it.
I sucked, but I loved it.
(Seriously, check out this link IF YOU DARE ohmylanta no judgment, k people)
Eventually, I got a smidge better and I started shooting weddings. The story of all the specifics of how that happened is for another time, but part of that journey meant second shooting weddings for other photographers. I desperately wanted to be in on the action, learning from all sorts of photographers to get as much knowledge and experience into my brain.
I put myself out there, hoping that one day someone would respond with yes. I offered to hold bags, keep people caffeinated, not even shoot until they were comfortable with me, if it meant I could learn from these people I looked up to.
A lot of people flat out ignored me. No response.
And a lot of people said no. Some even said my work was beautiful, but my gear wasn’t good enough.
(That one hurt the most.)
But some people said yes. Praise the Lord for those photographers who took a chance on me, just a baby photographer with a heart full of dreams.
I don’t know if any photographers read this little corner of the Internet, but if you’re newer to the game, I feel you. I know the struggle. I understand the frustration to look at your images and think, why is this not AT ALL what I saw in my head? What the heck was I thinking doing that? How do I get a flash on my camera? How do I even get a flash OFF my camera? How on earth do I get to a wedding I’m not just a guest at!?
(Side note: the feeling that your images could be better never really goes away.)
When I started out I wasn’t entirely sure why I was so drawn to weddings. At first I just wanted to photograph pretty things, but that got old real quick.
I realized that I cared less about the stuff and more about the substance behind the day.
It was the people.
I connected with the ones that cared about creating an environment that honoured their family & friends as a way to say thank you, rather than showing off. The ones that chose marriage not out of convenience, but out of a desire to fulfill their vocation. The ones that want to revive this generation and realize that life is better when it’s wholeheartedly shared with others, more offline than online.
I am adamant that engaged couples have the right fit for a wedding photographer (hugs to all of mine!! xoxo). Their stories and their hearts are things that should be told as authentically as possible and, honestly, they don’t deserve anything less.
In the past I’ve brought along second shooters that I’m friends with in the industry, which generally means my couples will love them, too, but they don’t meet each other until the wedding day.
Doing it this way has gone well, but I want the wedding day to be the best experience it can be. I want that day to be one of connection and intimacy so that when I go to share that story with the world, it’s one where every moment is honest, where my couples can show their hearts on their sleeves and spread hugs all around.
So, from now on, whenever humanly possible, the pre-wedding meeting I have with my clients will include my second shooter. I want them to know each other before the wedding so that it’s like having another friend there, rather than a stranger walking in on such an exciting and emotional day.
Especially with the dudes – a photographer’s relationship with the groomsmen gets real intimate real fast on the morning of a wedding.
To go along with that, starting this year, I’m offering something that combines the need I see for mentorship (after going through such a struggle myself) and the need I have for a consistent second shooter:
I’m offering a mentorship opportunity for the 2015 wedding season.
This is an opportunity for someone getting started to learn about photography and business from me. It includes second shooting as well as a few other things. Here’s what I’m expecting:
– Commitment to weddings currently booked & future 2015 bookings
– Commitment to a pre-wedding season wedding day workshop
– Commitment to meeting with all couples for a pre-wedding coffee date (in person or Skype)
– Commitment to wedding debriefing sessions
– Commitment to growing as human beings together cause we’ll spend a good chunk of time in each other’s presence
You get paid to second shoot (I value you!) and you get to ask me anything you want. It can be about gear, lighting, workflow, glitter, writing, my slight obsession with Brene Brown – you ask, I’ll answer.
If this sounds like something you’re interested in, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the application process started.
And even if you don’t think you’re good enough (Lord knows I’ve been there & still frequent that place sometimes), remember that life’s golden moments happen when you allows yourself to be fearless.
I’m praying for you, whoever is reading this & thinking about reaching out. I have been called to tell the stories of generation changers; I know you’re one of them.
And friends, I know good people read this blog, and I know good people hang out with good people, so if you know of a photographer who would be interested in this opportunity, please share this with them. Hopefully by now you know a little bit of my heart, so if you know of someone who’s on the same page – let me know.
Imma hug y’all so hard when the right person comes along. Dance parties for daaaaaaays.
PS. All photos of yours truly by Taliah Leigh.